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Approaches to Enhancing Cross-disciplinary Collaboration in a Large Climate Change & Agriculture Project

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Presenter: 
Dr. Sanford Eigenbrode, University of Idaho
Time of Event: 
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 12:00

SESYNC, 1 Park Place Suite 300, Annapolis MD 21401

The Toolbox is an NSF-funded project that endeavors to understand and enhance communication in collaborative, cross-disciplinary research (CDR) teams through structured philosophical dialogue that reveals differences in fundamental research assumptions. The project has two parts:

  • The outreach component is a workshop-based intervention for teams.
  • The research component involves analysis of the data generated by these workshops to assess the impact the Toolbox approach has on communication and team function.

This talk will describe how we are integrating the Toolbox-based workshop into Regional Approaches to Climate Change (REACCH), a $20 million, five-year USDA NIFA AGFRI CAP project with an overarching goal of enhancing the sustainability of cereal production systems of northern Idaho, north central Oregon, and eastern Washington under ongoing and projected climate change. Project management aims to enhance the depth and breadth of cross-disciplinary effort within REACCH and includes regular integration meetings, a virtual water cooler, social network analysis, collaborative student projects, and project-wide participation in Toolbox workshops. Approaches to incorporating the insights from the Toolbox exercise into REACCH will be discussed.

About the presenter

Sanford Eigenbrode is Professor and Chair of the Division of Entomology at the University of Idaho. He received degrees in Natural Resources (M.S., 1986) and Entomology (Ph.D., 1990) from Cornell University. Sanford conducts research on chemical ecology of insect-plant and multi-trophic interactions. This has included an emphasis on the chemical ecology, landscape ecology, and management of insect-vectored viruses of wheat, potatoes, and legumes in the Pacific Northwest. The regional scope of this work has led to substantial interdisciplinary effort addressing the sustainability of agricultural systems. He is project director for a $20M NIFA Coordinated Agricultural Project on Regional Approaches to Climate Change in Pacific Northwest Agriculture. He has been a co-PI on two NSF-IGERT projects, one ongoing, studying resilience of ecological and social systems in changing landscapes, which includes extensive collaboration with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica. Sanford is engaged in research with philosophers and sociologists focused on improving the process of collaborative science. In 2013, he was named University Distinguished Professor at the University of Idaho.

Photo credit: SugarCreekPhoto / Flickr